Like Scotland and Northern Ireland, Wales' cultural identity is distinct from the rest of United Kingdom. Its remoteness and wilderness is perfectly mirrored in its mountains, valleys, and cliffs. Natural environments and landscapes keep this region distant and unique from the way of life which characterizes England, despite their proximity.
The name Wales comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “Waelisc” meaning “foreigner” or “foreign”, Welsh people, together with Scots, were supposed to be the original inhabitants of United Kingdom before the Anglo-Saxon domination. Welsh double identity is particularly evident in the use and protection of their language.
Roald Dahl, a Welsh born writer, is the celebrated author of a number of children books, among which Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the best known one, having also inspired two film adaptations, in 1971 and 2005.
Raymond Williams, a Welsh scholar and writer who is considered the father of modern cultural studies, elaborated a sophisticated vision of British rural life starting from his own experience as a Welsh student going to Oxford (The Country and the City). The contrast between country life and urbanity is also the heart of his novel Border Country. This persistent opposition between the country and the city is also embodied in Dylan Thomas’s short-stories, collected in The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog.
A film adaptation of Dylan Thomas’s radio-drama Under Milk Wood, was made by Andrew Sinclair. The film cast includes the beloved Welsh actor Richard Burton, as the narrator, his wife Elizabeth Taylor and Peter O’Toole.
Among other famous Welsh men, Bertrand Russell, Nobel Prize winner, has a special place. His long-life dedication to culture and politics made him one of the most important figures of the Twentieth century.